Disclosures Highlight Clear Distinctions for Idaho Voters
(BOISE) — Campaign finance disclosures submitted Wednesday pulled the curtain back once again on the breathtaking hypocrisy coming from opponents of a citizen ballot initiative to revive Idaho’s horse racing industry.
According to disclosures filed to the Office of the Idaho Secretary of State, the PAC opposing Prop 1 – Idaho United Against Prop 1 – raised $2.75 million and spent $2.67 million between May 25thand Sept. 30. More than 98% of that money, $2.7 million, came from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which operates a lucrative casino in northern Idaho.
“I’m not sure Idaho has ever experienced the kind of bald-faced political hypocrisy being demonstrated by the opposition to Prop 1,” said Bruce Newcomb, chairman of Save Idaho Horse Racing and former Idaho House Speaker. “It’s one thing to argue against a policy on its merits. But it’s quite another for those who happily take Idahoans’ money on their own casino floor to argue that wagering on horse racing and Historical Horse Racing is bad public policy. While attempting to scare Idahoans about gaming and pretending to assume some kind of high ground, the Prop 1 opponents are obviously about one thing and one thing only—protecting their own casino profits, preserving their monopoly, and snuffing out any perceived or imagined threats to their business.”
Finance reports from Save Idaho Horse Racing show the campaign received a little more than $2 million during the reporting period, with 100 percent of that funding coming from Treasure Valley Racing, the organization that operates Les Bois Park in Boise.
Last month, the owners of Treasure Valley Racing announced the creation of a charitable foundation committed to supporting education, healthcare and the economies of rural Idaho communities. The owners – Robert Rebholtz Jr.; Harry S. Bettis; Linda Yanke; Larry Williams and John Sheldon – promised to donate 100 percent of the Les Bois Park profits to the foundation, extending each of the owners’ long record of philanthropy across Idaho.
“Idahoans can be assured that Proposition 1 funders are committed to one thing: reviving our state’s horse racing industry and reigniting an economic engine that contributes to our economies, creates jobs and supports schools and rural communities,” Newcomb said. “The financial numbers tell a real and important story about the differences between this campaign and the opposition.”